Transfer of Rwenzori Mountain Polling Stations Irks Voters

2799 Views Kabarole, Uganda
A decision by the Electoral Commission to close polling stations in some mountainous areas in Kabarole district is causing discontent among registered voters in the area. Polling stations in Kisunga and Ibonde in Katebwa sub-county were moved to Kisomoro trading center, 10 kilometers from the previous locations. Three polling stations in Karangura sub-county were moved to Kichwamba trading center, which is equally distant from the original voting points. Steven Makune, a resident in Ibonde parish, says none of the voters were consulted about move. //Cue in: "That trading center ..." Cue out: "... another place."// Makune says it is likely that during next year's general elections the majority of people won't vote because they can't afford to pay for transport to the new polling stations. He says the only solution is if the Electoral Commission provides transport for voters. Robinah Mbambu of Kisinga claims that some political candidates are taking advantage of the new location of the polling stations. She says she has heard some of the promise free transport to people if they promise to support their elections. The Kabarole district registrar, Suleiman Kato, says transferring polling stations from the mountainous areas was necessary because the Electoral Commission finds it difficult to deliver voting materials and results from these areas. He says moving the stations will prevent delays. Rev. Enock Musinguzi of the Uganda Joint Christian Council, which is a member of the Democracy Monitoring Group, says discussions are ongoing to reinstate the old polling stations. ###